The Imp Before Christmas

Once, an imp broiled a dose of trouble for a well meaning village. Trouble meant an imminent suicide for one poor character. Suicide meant a self-killing that would surprise the residents beyond the ordinary church theft, death by exposure, or child's epidemic of pneumonia. No one expects genuine trouble or the kind of trouble an imp would care to brew. Another story could be written about true-life trouble, but this story is not about life, but about imps and trouble. Let the story begin, or do I reveal the end. Ambiguity makes this story postmodern, and I'm into that sort of thing. Do not expect any details yet though. Art needs to happen gradually. Safely say that I'm foreshadowing something, then implying that the story is set at Christmas time and that the Imp holds little remorse for his evil. On the solstice, nights are long and demons aren't self-critical.

Trouble was a suicide, but high proof rum was the trouble as it was brewing in the Imp's pot. Trouble was also a ten-year-old, trapped by the Imp to become fifth business for this story. Captured children are scared. Deathly scared. A scared child will agree to deliver trouble to almost anyone so as not to be scared. Too bad this trouble had to come to you. Sure, you can deny it, but it did and you regretted it. Go and search your memory, friend, this story is about you and your bottle of rum. Outside you looked in your new zen koan-gora sweater and chocolate-coloured loafers, because the sun was out. Totally oblivious to your neighbours, of course. Sociability was never your strong suit. Outside you looked in your new zen koan-gora sweater and chocolate-coloured loafers, because the sun was out and you wanted to see the sweet touche of your neighbours that you never had the guts to socialize with. Have you ever found yourself more happy on a sunny day? Softly, you admit to yourself, "no I haven't ever found myself more happy on a sunny day looking outside in my new zen koan-gora sweater and chocolate-coloured loafers and seeing a sweet neighbour's touche." What a laugh you are, and I know this because I'm magical and own forty-three times the number of action figures than anybody on this earth. Happily you looked at touche. Rumour had it trouble was brewing. Terrified, the child did as told, spitting gravel out the soles of his sneakers while he ran.

Paths often lead to important homes. Recognizing the path that led to your home, the scared child followed it straight away with the bottle of high-proof rum. Tapped on your door, he did. Unwilling to face you as you came to the door, he left the bottle for you outside. Magnanimously, (since you're the hero) you took the bottle in and nursed it into your arms. So much for your consciousness. Reverie does not bring up that evening, does it? To formulate a subtle hint, you probably don't recognize the fifty people you slept with that evening either. Happily you enjoyed rum. Profoundly upset was your lover of over 15 years. And just before Christmas too, you just had to drop that high-proof rum into your vegetarian okra-nog and drink it. "To us," you said at last swig, meaning only the four visions of yourself you saw in the mirror. Love became only a secondary thought. Indeed, you had lost all your faculties. Quasi-coherent, you called a cab and hit the town. Everyone had fun with you. Fabulous night it was. People recognized the underground music scene returning to high popularity and therefore left it quite etymologically false.

To the suicide part. I suppose you thought it was you or your lover who did it. Well, you are wrong. Overall, with the exception of this one rum night (that you don't remember), your life continues to be boring. Women think you are physically repulsive, as do men. Just a bishop commits suicide in this story. After witnessing all your debauchery, he couldn't take it anymore. At about 3pm there is a funeral being held for him with 56 pall bearers. Back at your house, things are still stable. Family life for you will include 4 accountant children. Over at the diocese, people are surprised. They never could have expected such trouble. Could you have? Like, it was Christmas and everything! Holly berries decked the halls. Terrence the vicar passed out the figgie pudding. All else was peace and good will. Take my word for it. What? Complacent am I? What? Sarcastic too? That's just too bad. Believe my story or not, it's as promised. Christmas and imps and a clergy suicide made it, I think. The internet was overrun with jokes about a bishop finding out that canon law had typos and the word "celibate" was supposed to be "celebrate."

Gave this story to my publisher. Always the joker, she thought I should commit suicide. Perfectly alternative off-beat adventure story like this and she turned it down. Success is delayed for a while. In due time will she regret this. God Awful publisher she is!


Your character is the Collector of Things.

This character lives at 3 Gateway Lane, directly opposite the Student's house (move 2).

The southeast corner of his/her garden backs onto the estate's lake, and from his/her house he/she can just see the castle on the island in the middle of the lake.

In all other directions the house is neighboured by other houses.

Other characters involved in the Collector's neighbourhood include the Evangelist (who lives over the back fence) and the Witch (who live next door, at number 5.)